I thought Minden looked a little down-at-heel – the renovated Altstadt smacked more of external, hopeful investment than innate prosperity – and when I saw the large army camps south of the town I wondered if the end of the Cold War had anything to do with it.
South of Minden the Weser changes drastically. Geological pinch-points force the river to change direction and hills are waiting in the wings. It was still a pretty flat ride with more shorn cornfields and rustling maize fields, but the flood plains have shrunk and there are more settlements. The lunchtime stop was in Rinteln, where I admired the mixture of Weser Renaissance and half-timbering in the old town. After that, I admired the Freibad beside the Weser.
One interesting thing is how motifs stay the same while the materials vary. The semi-circular shell/flower/sunburst is very common here, both in wood and in stone.
Anyway, I thought Rinteln was pretty good, but Hameln beats everything. There are grand buildings everywhere.
I also saw a trio of Jugendstil buildings on the edge of the Altstadt:
and a shop in Bäckerstraße: